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The role of mutuals in public service innovation

Grant funded by ESRC, BIS and NESTA

There is growing interest in the role of social enterprise and mutual spin outs from the public sector, where staff leave the public sector to set up their own staff and user owned organisation. By looking at 'mutual spin outs' this two year project was able to see how innovation occurs and what effect there is on services and staff. Encouraging mutuals is a key feature of the Government's public service reform agenda, although little is known about the potential new services and ways of doing things that may emerge.

Research focused on the health and social care sector and compared recently set up spin-outs with similar more established organisations in the leisure sector, a sector which went through major reform in the 1990s.

Researchers interviewed people at all levels within the spin outs from directors of organisations, trustees, staff and users. They also tapped into the views of policy makers, practitioners, trade unions and support providers. The results are shared with the case organisations and used to inform policy and those supporting these organisations.

This two year project led by the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR) was part of the Innovation Research Centre led by Cambridge and Imperial Universities and funded by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council), BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills), nesta (The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. The research was carried out by Professor Fergus Lyon, Dr Leandro Sepulveda, Dr Ian Vickers and Caitlin McMullin, with further input by associates Dan Gregory and Andrea Westall. The project also had input from Celine Chew at Cardiff University and Alex Nichols at Oxford University.

Further information contact Dr Leandro Sepulveda l.sepulveda@mdx.ac.uk; 02084116563
Or Professor Fergus Lyon F.lyon@mdx.ac.uk; 02084116856

Publications

Cultures of innovation CEEDR

Employee ownership - CEEDR

Innovation beyond the spin - Policy Briefing final

Innovation forms processes and learning - CEEDR

Innovation in Public Services - Joint event of IRC and TSRC Paper on Mutuals and innovation

Introduction - Innovation Beyond the Spin - Nesta

Middlesex University response to the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) Inquiry on Citizen and public services

Paper for Social Frontiers The next edge of social innovation research Process of social innovation in mutual organisations: The case of social enterprises leaving the public sector

User involvement - CEEDR

Related Links to Middlesex Research

Third Sector Research Centre's social enterprise stream

Evaluation of School for Social Entrepreneurs support programme. Download final report 

Evaluation of Department of Health's Social Enterprise Investment Fund

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